I did two radio interviews yesterday, for BBC Radio Newcastle and for the BBC Mark Forrest Show, on a news story that Northumbria Police issued 731 drunk and disorderly charges to women in 2012.
The BBC Newcastle reporter, @ruth_holliday, had put together a really nice package with some interviews. Some of her interviewees particularly stood out. There was a young woman who when asked why she thought people got drunk said because it’s cheap. Spot on. Then there were a couple of cab drivers, one of whom said when women are let loose for the weekend they get drunk, and another of whom said women go mad when they get away from their husbands. Mmm. Then there was the man who said women behave more badly than women. Er, no, actually.
Drunk and disorderly arrests are for “offensive” behaviour, and what society finds offensive in men and in women is slightly different when it comes to alcohol. Look at the work of Richard de Visser if you want evidence for this:
de Visser, Richard O. and McDonnell, Elizabeth J. (2012) “That’s OK. He’s a guy”: a mixed-methods study of gender double-standards for alcohol use.Psychology and Health, 27 (5). pp. 618-639. ISSN 0887-0446
And men are more likely to commit violent acts when alcohol is involved, which I would argue is much worse than a bit of flashing your knickers, swearing or vomiting in the street.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a problem with people drinking too much, men and women. It’s just a shame that we have such double standards when it comes to women drinking.